Kampala, Uganda: Today the High Court of Uganda sitting at Kampala has bashed Mulago National Referral for their failure to protect mothers who give birth from the Hospital from loss of their babies in inexplicable circumstances. The directive arises out of a case that was filed in July 2013 by the Center for Health Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), Mubangizi Michael and Musimenta Jennifer against the Attorney General of Uganda and the Executive Director of Mulago National Referral Hospital.
The case is the consequence of the failure of the hospital to account for the whereabouts of the baby of Musimenta Jennifer who gave birth to twins at the Hospital but was only given one baby. The Hospital gave Musimenta Jennifer only one live baby and later gave also her the body of a deceased which after DNA tests was found to not be compatible with Mubangizi Michael and Musimenta Jennifer.
CEHURD, a health and human rights advocacy organization joined the parents of the baby Mubangizi Michael and Musimenta Jennifer and filed a case against the Attorney General acting on behalf of Mulago Hospital and the Executive Director of Mulago National Referral Hospital. We argued in the case that the failure of the Mulago National Referral Hospital to provide information on the whereabouts of the second child was a violation of the parents’ right to health, the rights of the family, the rights of children and the right to access information all of which are protected under the Constitution. We asked Court to declare that the rights of the parents had been violated, to order Mulago National Referral Hospital to provide information on the whereabouts of the baby and to pay general damages to the parents for the untold pain and suffering they had suffered.
The Attorney General and the Executive Director of Mulago National Referral Hospital in response argued that the Musimenta Jennifer gave birth to a dead baby and that she together with Mubangizi Micheal took the body from Hospital Mortuary. The Court has been hearing the case since 2013 and today decided that it was ready to deliver its decision in the case.
“We applaud the High Court for standing boldly in the face of injustice and deciding to end human rights violations which have for long been perpetrated against mothers who use Mulago National Referral Hospital. It is a remarkable sacrifice for mothers to go through the process of labour and exercise all due diligence and effort to deliver the baby successfully into this world. It is therefore grossly cruel and inhuman when the mother who has undertaken this sacrifice is fraudulently and unlawfully deprived of the baby by the people who are tasked with assisting her. CEHURD will follow up with the decision of the High Court and ensure that every individual who has in one way or the other been implicated in the theft of babies is held appropriately accountable.” – James Zeere, CEHURD.
The Constitution of Uganda provides that the rights and freedoms shall be respected, upheld and promoted by all organs and agencies of Government and by all persons including the staff at Mulago National Referral Hospital. Today, the Court has demonstrated the sanctity of the right to health in Uganda by holding Uganda’s biggest Hospital accountable for its health rights violations against Musimenta Jennifer and Mubangizi Micheal.